Definition: An e-shop is an online business that sells a variety of goods and services. E-shops are business-to-consumer oriented. They are just like a retail store but instead of having a physical location, its location is on the internet. E-shops are also referred to as an “e-store” or an “e-tailer.” The benefits of an e-shop are that customers can shop anytime they want without having to go anywhere. There are two types of e-shops, pure plays and click and mortar or bricks and clicks. E-shops must make the shopping experience for the customer as easy and attractive as it would be to shop at a regular retail store.

History : E-shop started out in 1991 as a software company named Ink Development Corporation. In 1993 Ink Development Corporation was renamed E-shop. E-shop developed electronic commerce software that focused on the business-to-consumer marketplace. One of the most notable founders of e-shop was Pierre Omidyaris. He had an interest in consumer-to-consumer commerce but e-shop was focused on business-to-consumer commerce. He left in 1994 but it was a loss for e-shop because he took his interest in consumer-to-consumer commerce and launched E-bay, a very successful company.

Types: E-shops come in two forms, pure plays and click and mortar or bricks and clicks. Pure plays are online businesses that only exist on the internet. Some examples of pure plays are Amazon.com, E-bay.com, Bluefly.com, and Overstock.com. Click and mortar or bricks and clicks are businesses that sell at both, online and physical locations. Some examples of click and mortar or bricks and clicks are, the Gap, Best Buy, Target, Barnes & Noble, Macys, Nordstrom, Blockbuster, and many more. Even grocery stores like Safeway allow you to shop online and they will deliver at your door.

How it works: The way an E-shops works is first, the customers visit a store, they browse the stores catalog and search for the products they are looking for, they add the products to their shopping cart, they can manage their shopping cart by adding or removing products at anytime before they check-out, once they have the products they want to buy they can check-out. The check-out process is usually safe because e-shops use encryption technology to protect customer’s information such as credit card numbers, bank accounts, and addresses. The store usually offers support by email or contact number in case the customer needs help with something.

What makes a good E-shop: An e-shop should be appealing and easy to manage so that cusmtomers will want to buy from it rather than going to a regular retail store. There are billions of e-shops on the internet so a good e-shop should have an attractive and appropriate sign board. A sign board can be the lines in a search system, the banners, the advertisements on other sites, the head of the homepage, etc. When customers see your sign board they should be attracted to it and enter your shop. An e-shop should also be in a high position of a search list to attract customers because customers don’t want to be looking around; they are going to go for what they see first. It should place references where it is convenient for its target group to find. An e-shop should be clean and simple so that the customer can concentrate on the product to make a good decision and not be distracted by mess such as bright colors or unreadable texts. It should be easy for the customer to find the product they are looking for, get product information, see the product price, and to get assistance if he or she needs help.

Advantages

Convenience

Online stores are usually available 24 hours a day, and many consumers have Internet access both at work and at home. Other establishments such as internet cafes and schools provide internet access as well. In contrast, visiting a conventional retail store requires travel and must take place during business hours.

In the event of a problem with the item (e.g., the product was not what the consumer ordered, the product was not satisfactory), consumers are concerned with the ease of returning an item in exchange for either the correct product or a refund. Consumers may need to contact the retailer, visit the post office and pay return shipping, and then wait for a replacement or refund. Some online companies have more generous return policies to compensate for the traditional advantage of physical stores.

Information and reviews

Online stores must describe products for sale with text, photos, and multimedia files, whereas in a physical retail store, the actual product and the manufacturer’s packaging will be available for direct inspection (which might involve a test drive, fitting, or other experimentation).

Some online stores provide or link to supplemental product information, such as instructions, safety procedures, demonstrations, or manufacturer specifications. Some provide background information, advice, or how-to guides designed to help consumers decide which product to buy.

Some stores even allow customers to comment or rate their items. There are also dedicated review sites that host user reviews for different products. Reviews and even some blogs give customers the option of shopping for cheaper purchases from all over the world without having to depend on local retailers.

In a conventional retail store, clerks are generally available to answer questions. Some online stores have real-time chat features, but most rely on e-mails or phone calls to handle customer questions.

Price and selection

One advantage of shopping online is being able to quickly seek out deals for items or services provided by many different vendors (though some local search engines do exist to help consumers locate products for sale in nearby stores). Search engines, online price comparison services and discovery shopping engines can be used to look up sellers of a particular product or service.

Shipping costs (if applicable) reduce the price advantage of online merchandise, though depending on the jurisdiction, a lack of sales tax may compensate for this.

Shipping a small number of items, especially from another country, is much more expensive than making the larger shipments bricks-and-mortar retailers order. Some retailers (especially those selling small, high-value items like electronics) offer free shipping on sufficiently large orders.

Another major advantage for retailers is the ability to rapidly switch suppliers and vendors without disrupting users’ shopping experience.

Resources: www.computerbusinessresearch.com, www.en.wikipedia.org